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Ibogaine Studied for Its Effectiveness in Drug Addiction Treatment

Research in the area of drug addiction treatment is heavily focused on the medications that make it more possible for patients to quickly stop abusing their drug of choice, more safely and efficiently get through withdrawal symptoms, and more effectively fight drug cravings and avoid relapse. One of the latest plants under the microscope is the African plant iboga. Ibogaine is the substance derived from this plant and one that may have healing properties that address the issues associated with opiate addiction that make it so difficult to walk away from.

The possible positive side of ibogaine is that it has been shown to help patients deal with the physical aspect of drug addiction and may have a significant effect on interrupting withdrawal symptoms.

The somewhat more dubious claim is that, because ibogaine is a psychedelic drug, the patient who takes it may no longer experience withdrawal symptoms but will certainly go on a 36-hour “trip.” Some report that this experience is characterized by a visit from a “plant spirit” who helps the user to understand why they began abusing drugs and provides them with guidance to avoid returning to drug addiction when the ibogaine wears off.

It is perhaps due in part to the fact that these claims are widely unverifiable that the iboga plant and ibogaine are not used in drug addiction treatment here in the United States. It is most definitely due to the fact that the drug is a psychedelic that the drug is illegal for any use in this country – and has been since it was banned along with other psychedelics like mescaline, DMT, LSD under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

The studies that are being done are reportedly happening in other parts of the world, like Western Africa, where the drug is often used in shamanic ceremonies and, in lower doses, to treat certain ailments. However, some say that the drug has been found on the underground, passed around for its psychedelic uses as well as its drug addiction treatment properties and even in a handful of drug addiction treatment centers in Mexico, New Zealand, and Holland.

Arguments for using the drug in addiction treatment programs are not helped by the fact that a number of people have died while under its influence. However, a US-based study of the drug is being conducted by Santa Cruz Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in Mexico and soon in New Zealand.

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